Be Your Strong Self – Quiet Down the Inner Critic

I stood nine feet away from five people who could fulfill my dreams. They had already invested in somebody else’s feature film. That’s why we were gathered at this restaurant—to celebrate the premiere of that other person’s film.

 Oh, please invest in my first feature film! I thought.

This was the first time that I had been invited to a Hollywood-type gathering like this.

I didn’t know what to do. I had brochures of my own proposed feature film in my suit jacket pocket. Great brochures designed by the then marketing director of the San Francisco Ballet.

Here’s the problem. I had never directed a feature film. Sure, I had won a special award at the Emmy Awards. I was still unproven.

Second problem—I had no clue how to interact with potential investors. Terrified, I pushed my introvert-self to go talk with the investors. I gave each one a brochure.

The next day I got a phone call from my production budget mentor. “It’s important that we meet this afternoon,” he said. When I sat down at his kitchen table, he pulled out one of my brochures, promoting my proposed feature film. Then, he slammed brochure after brochure on the table. None of the investors had kept my brochure.

Through clenched teeth, my production budget mentor (who had invited me to that premiere event) demanded, “You will write a letter to apologize to my business partner.”

I felt so embarrassed that I wanted to disappear—to melt into the floorboards.

Probably this production budget mentor wanted to teach me a lesson.

What he did was kick my confidence in the teeth.

I felt like … garbage.

I felt like I had done a horrible thing.

My Inner Critic took this incident and used it like fuel to beat me up for years.

Do you relate to this? Does your Inner Critic feed on your mistakes? Does it tell you “you can’t do that, and you’re no good”?

Recently, with my audiences and clients, I often say, “Measure by your heart, not their approval.”

Here I’m going to add: “Do NOT let the Inner Critic run your show.” By this I mean, make your decisions based on your heart—not the fear-entrenched Inner Critic.

To make this memorable, I’m going to express the W.I.N. process:

W – win over the Inner Critic
I – increase leverage
N – nurture your strengths

a) Win over the Inner Critic

I’ve learned from my studies and personal experience that the Inner Critic is that part of you that wants to protect you. But if you give it direct resistance or if you ignore it, the Inner Critic’s interference gets louder.

So what can you do? You have a form of inner dialogue.

Inner Critic: “Don’t do that. You’ll get hurt.”
You: “Thank you, Inner Critic. I’m learning to do this other thing so I’ll be stronger in that situation.”

You win over your Inner Critic by creating evidence that you’re developing skills and doing appropriate rehearsals. That’s what I focus on as the Spoken Word Strategist. I help my clients with their Words – Strategy – Rehearsal. That’s how they can perform at their best in tough situations.

Don’t let the Inner Critic be the CEO of your life. Quiet down the Inner Critic so it’s just a member of the committee.

This has become a principle for me:  Don’t let the Inner Critic run your show. Instead, answer your heart’s call.


b) Increase leverage

Years ago, I submitted a book proposal to a literary agent. He called me within an hour of receiving my submission. I thought I was all set. But he concentrated on the marketing section of my book proposal. My hopes were dashed when the agent passed on my book. Why? I had no leverage. That was before I had thousands of people connected to me on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media. That was before I gave speeches from New York to New Zealand (plus Silicon Valley, CA, Thailand and more). That was also before my 47 books on Amazon.

So, to quiet down your Inner Critic, take steps forward to gain leverage. Demonstrate that you have people who appreciate your work. It’s important to be good AND have a Tribe (a circle of people who believe in your work). Make sure you get testimonials.

If we use Google, we can find numerous examples of people who have built up fan bases via YouTube or even placing a project on Kickstarter or GoFundMe.

c. Nurture Your Strengths

Sure, if you have a difficulty like public speaking, it’s great to get coaching. That’s a process of shoring up a weakness. You can become competent when you shore up a weakness.

Instead, let’s talk about becoming extraordinary and quieting down your Inner Critic.

The solution is nurture your strengths. Then, you can rise to the world-class. Make good choices. For example, if I took the next 10 years and focused on improving my illustration skills, that would not be my best choice. I’d still fail to come close to the artistry of the illustrators who made my graphic novel, Crystal Pegasus, come to life. Why? I’m just not gifted as an illustrator. Instead, I’ve devoted myself to my areas of writing, directing, executive coaching and speaking.

How about you? What are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing?

Nurture your strengths, and you’ll quiet down your Inner Critic. How? You’ll have evidence that you’re getting better at your chosen area. Excellent.

Years ago, I received some coaching from by Richard Carlson, the author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.  I still take action based on what he taught me. He said, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff was my tenth book.” He had editors who coached him through nine books before he landed on his bestselling book.

Again, nurture your strengths and quiet down the Inner Critic.

Remember, don’t let the Inner Critic run your show. Instead, answer your heart’s call.

Go the Next Step and See the Video Ep. 36 “Be Your Strong Self — Quiet Down Your Inner Critic” (11 min.)

many happy moments,

Tom Marcoux
Spoken Word Strategist
CEO – Executive Coach – Pitch Coach
Speaker-Author of 47 books

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